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QIWI launches new seed fund and accelerator

0 25 April 2014

The owners of Russian payment service provider QIWI have launched a new $30 million seed fund and a startup accelerator.

Andrey Romanenko, QIWI’s founder, explains that 

“Today there are lots of young, gifted people in Russia with great ideas, but not many of them come to fruition for a variety of reasons.”

These two new ventures aim to address this problem, by providing support to entrepreneurs at an early stage in their projects.

Romanenko will manage the new fund, Run Capital (not to be confused with Runa Capital, one of Russia’s most famous venture funds), along with his father Nikolay and QIWI executives Igor Mikhailov and Sergey Fedyushenko. 

This is Romanenko's second fund. His first, iTech Capital, was launched in 2011 and is worth in the region of $100 million. While iTech is oriented towards established startups, Run Capital will invest predominantly in early stage projects. 

This comes as good news for Russia’s venture market, which has been set back by the departure of a number of Western investors as a result of the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine. 

The new startup accelerator, QIWI Universe, has been launched in partnership with Moscow State University. The acceleration program will last 4 months and projects will receive up $20,000 investment, as well as office space an educational program and access to mentors, in return for an 8% stake. 

Residents will be selected through a series of regional hackathons, to be held in Minsk, Novosibirsk, Moscow and Kazan in the coming months. The winners, along with the best applications submitted electronically, will be invited to take part in a final selection day in mid-June.

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